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Growing Figs in the Lowcountry

Presented by Darren Sheriff Master Gardener Class of 2007

Fig Fruit

Believed to be indigenous to Western Asia Have been found in excavations of

Neolithic sites traced to at least 5,000 B.C. The first figs in the New World were planted in Mexico in 1560. Introduced into California when the San Diego Mission was established in 1769

The fruits come in numerous sizes, colors and shapes!

There may be as many as 1000 different kinds of Fig trees in the world!!

Fig Leaves are numerous in shapes also

Fig Leaves
Occasionally leaf shape is
used to classify and identify fig varieties Fig leaves are extremely variable even from the same tree Generally they can be used most effectively to rule out varieties, rather than to make a definitive identification.

Many varieties exhibit

a wide variety of leaves on a given tree though one style usually predominates.

Fig leaves

Raspberry Latte Two different types of leaves: one kind on some branches, and a different kind on others.

General Growing
One major thing to remember about Figs: The size, shape, and color of a fig can be dramatically different depending on soil, climate, fertilization, watering and any other factor.

General Growing
Need at least 8 hours
of sun Though drought tolerant, need ample amounts of water

Require little
fertilization, if showing less than one inch of growth per year, use a 10-10-10 application in the Spring

General Growing
Size Matters: Can grow 15-30 feet tall Can be kept pruned to manageable height Will tend to grow wider than tall

Take 8- to 10-inch
long cuttings of oneyear-old wood in late Winter or early Spring. Size should be pencil to finger thick

Use Sand, perlite or a
good-quality potting mix Place in warm, humid, BRIGHT light, not direct sun Don't water the cuttings again until they are very dry.

For propagation in the mid-Summer months, air
layer new growth in July and August Another method is bending over a taller branch, scratching the bark to reveal the green inner bark, then pinning the scratched area tightly to the ground. Roots will develop in a few weeks, clip from the mother plant and transplant.

Fig Grown in Container

Fig in Container

Varieties to try (Not all inclusive)

Hunt Kadota Green Ischia (seeds
are objectionable to some) Magnolia LSU Gold

Alma Celeste Brown Turkey LSU Purple Excel Verdal Longue Violette de Bordeaux

Fruit Ripeness
As a fig ripens and Many signs indicate that a
fig is ripening Getting to know your variety is critical Flavor and sugars are developed in the last day or two of ripening Figs exhibit a significant size increase when they begin to ripen increases in size and weight, it will usually soften, which will cause it to droop or sag. Skin of some figs will split as they increase in size Some varieties when ripe will exude a drop of honey-like nectar from the eye

Fruit Ripeness
Each year there are two crops of figs The first or
Breva Crop develops in the Spring on last year's shoot growth. The main fig crop develops on the current year's shoot growth and ripens in the late Summer or Fall. Usually the main crop is superior in both quantity and quality. Though, some cultivars produce good breva crops ('Black Mission', 'Croisic', and 'Ventura').

Root-knot nematodes are the primary pest
of fig trees. Infected fig trees cannot be cured with chemical treatment. Attentive watering and fertilization may prolong the life of a root-knot infected fig tree. Usually, however, they will die sooner or later.

Fig Rust: This fungus
attacks the leaves, usually in late summer. Severely infected leaves turn yellow-brown and drop. The underside of the fallen leaves will have numerous small, somewhat raised, reddish brown spots. These spots are often covered with a dusty golden-yellow mass of rust spores.

Fig rust is usually not
fatal, but repeated epidemics will weaken the plant. In any given year, heavy leaf drop from rust will reduce size and quality of the fruit. Unless fig rust is an annual problem, spraying is not warranted.